Congress president and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi on Sunday asked the people of Haryana not to be taken in by the “hollow promises” doled out by the Opposition parties.

Addressing election rallies at Jhajjar and Nuh in Mewat on the last day of campaigning, Ms. Gandhi reiterated her appeal to voters to exercise their franchise in favour of the Congress in the Assembly elections on Tuesday, as only this could ensure the State’s development.

Opposition parties such as the Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) did nothing for the people of the State when they were in power, Ms. Gandhi alleged. The Congress regime headed by Bhupinder Singh Hooda not only took initiatives to implement Central schemes but also launched several new projects to usher in a social revolution and transform the State.

‘Pro-people party’

Ms. Gandhi urged the people to think whether the INLD and the BJP had done anything for the farmers or women or Dalits. It was the Hooda regime which implemented a massive loan waiver scheme for farmers and took concrete steps to improve the lot of the common man, including farmers, women and Dalits. “Only the Congress has proved its credentials as a pro-people party,” she added.

Ms. Gandhi said the Congress strongly believed in the empowerment of the farmer, as he was the backbone of the Indian economy. “The Congress cannot allow the farmers to suffer,” she said, adding that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had taken progressive steps to bring smiles on their faces.

On development, Ms. Gandhi said the Congress believed in integral development for all regions, irrespective of the political set-ups in the States. However, she charged that the erstwhile National Democratic Alliance (NDA) had pursued discriminatory policies against the Congress-ruled States.

Ms. Gandhi said the budget of the Haryana government had been enhanced from Rs. 2,300 crore during the INLD-BJP regime to over Rs.11,000 crore.

Reiterating that the Congress stood for peace, security, prosperity and the rule of law as compared to the Opposition parties’ mafia rule, she urged the people to give a massive and renewed mandate to the party to ensure continuity of the development process.

At Nuh, Ms. Gandhi said the Congress was committed to protecting the interests of the minorities, especially the Muslims.

She appreciated the fact that Mr. Hooda’s regime had first made Mewat a district, set up a Mewat Development Board and later floated the Rs. 425-crore Rajiv Gandhi Drinking Water Yojana to provide clean drinking water to the people.